Inter-Church Justice and Peace Commission (CIJP)

Humanitarian zone in CurbaradóFor more than twenty years, the Inter-Church Justice and Peace Commission (CIJP) has defended human rights and accompanied victims of human rights violations in Colombia.

CIJP cites international human rights law and the gospel of human dignity as its reasons for existing. It is made up of 50 members with Catholic, Presbyterian and humanist backgrounds, who support communities or organisations nonviolently affirming their rights in areas of armed conflict. CIJP also supports the search for truth, justice and reparation, as well as negotiated political resolutions to the internal armed conflict.

Peasant Farmers’ Association of the Cimitarra River Valley (ACVC)

Mario Martínez of the ACVC. The Peasant Farmers’ Association of the Cimitarra River Valley (ACVC) carries out social, political and community work in nearly 120 small rural communities, in eight municipalities in the Magdalena Medio region. It has approximately 25,000 members who are small-scale farmers (campesinos).

ACVC's work is centred on the Peasant Farmer Reserve Zone (or Peasant Enterprise Zone) and its Sustainable Development Plan, which focuses on issues of human rights, education, health, and agriculture. 

Valentina Rosendo Cantú

17-year old Valentina Rosendo Cantú lived in an isolated village in Mexico’s impoverished Guerrero state. One morning, soldiers surrounded her as she washed clothes in a shaded stream. An indigenous woman whose first language was Me’phaa, she spoke little Spanish - when she couldn’t answer their questions the soldiers raped and beat her.

 

Tlachinollan Human Rights Centre

Lawyer Santiago Aguirre of the Tlachinollan Human Rights CentreSince 1994, the Tlachinollan Human Rights Centre has been defending the fundamental rights of individuals as well as the collective rights of Guerrero’s deprived indigenous communities.

Centre for Human Rights and Legal Advice for Indigenous Peoples (Cedhapi)

Maurilio Santiago Reyes, president of CedhapiThe Centre for Human Rights and Legal Advice for Indigenous Peoples (Cedhapi) is based in the city of Tlaxiaco, in the Mixtec region in the northeast Oaxaca State.

Founded in 2001, Cedhapi's mandate is to protect the fundamental rights of indigenous peoples. It is dedicated to the legal defence and public reporting of cases of grave human rights violations. Among other cases, it represents the relatives of the three people assassinated in Santo Domingo Ixcatlán in April 2008.

The Verapaz Union of Campesino Organisations (UVOC)

The UVOC was founded in the 1980s and includes over 200 campesino communities in the departments of Alta Verapaz, Baja Verapaz, Izabal, and El Quiché in Guatemala. It works principally on access to land for indigneous and campesino communities and to provide support in the process of legalisation of the communities’ land titles. The organisation also offers training to communities affiliated to the UVOC and supports development projects within those communities. 

Criminalised for peacefully protecting the right to a healthy environment

Reverend José Pilar Álvarez, of the Association to protect Las Granadillas Mountain (APMG), was in London from 28-31 May, seeking to increase awareness and support for the work of APMG and other environmental human rights defenders in Guatemala who are similarly threatened because of their work. 

Rev. Pilar helped local residents establish APMG in 2004. Deforestation, monoculture, and large-scale cattle farming by private landowners was depleting fresh water supplies, endangering local forest flora and fauna, and threatening the livelihood of local communities. 

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